Parkinson’s exercise class hailed a success
A weekly exercise class to help people with Parkinson’s is celebrating its first anniversary and the fantastic progress made by participants.
Parkinson’s is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition that is often accompanied by impaired balance, walking and a reduced quality of life.
All the latest research has shown that exercise is just as important as medication for people with the condition.
Last year, Active Northumberland joined forces with Parkinson’s UK to develop the exercise class at the Swan Centre in Berwick, and staff were trained in aspects of the condition.
Kevin Logan, exercise instructor with Active Northumberland, said: “It has been a fantastic year. The overall improvement within the group has been phenomenal. To begin with the group started with simple balance and strength sessions to increase mobility and help reduce the incidence of falls but these sessions quickly advanced to higher intensity circuits.
“Having fun has been fundamental to the group. We’ve had themed days including a day out on the train and Parkinson’s Christmas games and our exercise sessions always end with a cuppa and cake in the café so those taking part can talk to others who have the same condition.”
The idea of the classes was sparked by inspirational local lady Colleen Henderson-Heywood, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at just 39.
She was having one-to-one sessions at the Swan Centre with instructor Kevin in her determination not to let the condition take over her life and knew that others could benefit from dedicated exercise classes.
Colleen said: “The exercise programme Kevin put together when it was just me and him was so brilliant, I knew that it would help other people with Parkinson’s, and he made it happen.
“I am so impressed with the staff at Active Northumberland. They look on customers as individuals and consider their needs. It is so much more than a sports centre. To me it has been a significant part of my primary health care and I think there are so many more people living in the community that could benefit from their services.”
Jeremy Stone, who also attends, said: “ I’ve been attending the exercise classes for over a year now which I really believe have helped me to continue playing golf and curling.
“I find them very worthwhile and intend to continue with them.”
The class is an extension of the GP referral scheme.
Active Northumberland runs a very successful GP Referral scheme where doctors and other health professionals refer individuals who they feel would benefit from physical activity to help them improve their medical conditions.
The exercise class for Parkinson’s sufferers is an extension of this work to support and assist residents in the Berwick area who have the disease.